Do Flame Retardants Prevent Fires?

Do Flame Retardants Prevent Fires?

According to the peer reviewed paper, Flame Retardants in Furniture Foam: Benefits and Risks, the California standard TB117 has not been shown to improve fire safety and is thus presenting an unnecessary health hazard.

  • Baby products do not pose a fire hazard
  • According to the National Fire Protection Association, their use in California has not led to a measurable improvement in fire safety
  • Flame retardants may decrease fire safety since they increase the amount of carbon monoxide and toxic gases produced when a product does burn


This begs the question, “Why are they still used in baby products and furniture?”

The answer is easy. The producers of the flame retardant chemicals spend millions of dollars lobbying at the state and federal levels to create and maintain regulations like the California furniture flammability standard TB117 which are favorable to their industry.

Arlene Blum

Arlene Blum PhD, biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer is a Visiting Scholar in Chemistry UC Berkeley and also executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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